Did Ken Ham Misrepresent Tim Keller on Genesis 1 and 2?

A couple of weeks ago, Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, wrote a blog post accusing Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer NYC, of misrepresenting the views of young-earth creationists. In one of Dr. Keller’s articles for the BioLogos Foundation, he says:

Many secular and many evangelical voices agree on one ‘truism’—that if you are an orthodox Christian with a high view of the authority of the Bible, you cannot believe in evolution in any form at all. New Atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins and creationist writers such as Ken Ham seem to have arrived at consensus on this, and so more and more in the general population are treating it as given. If you believe in God, you can’t believe in evolution. If you believe in evolution, you can’t believe in God.

Ken Ham believes that his own views have been misrepresented in that he does not believe that, “If you believe in God, you can’t believe in evolution. If you believe in evolution, you can’t believe in God.”

You can read the rest of Ken Ham’s post at the above link.

Today, a PCA pastor, David Wallover, has written an article in response to Ken Ham’s post in which he accuses Ken Ham of having misrepresented Dr. Keller’s teaching on the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2. For reference, Ken Ham wrote the following:

Pastor Keller is quoted as saying that he takes Genesis 2 literally, but not Genesis 1. In a teaching session on Genesis 1 and 2, Keller claims that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict one another and says that Christians can do either of the following: they can believe that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other and an “idiotic editor” put them together in the Bible, or Christians can adopt his perspective that Genesis 1 is a poem, while Genesis 2 is historical.

Ken Ham gave a link for the teaching session.

Pastor Wallover wrote that Ken Ham’s summary misrepresents what Dr. Keller said in his teaching session:

Now, did Keller misrepresent Ham? He may well have; I do not know, not being privy to the entire discussion. Even after reading the remainder of the article, I am not entirely willing to give Ham the benefit of the doubt as to the accuracy of his summary of Keller’s statements about Ham, given Ham’s inaccurate summary of Keller’s position at the outset.

So, I decided to listen to the talk by Dr. Keller and decide for myself if Ken Ham’s summary was accurate or not. Here is a transcription of the relevant portion of the talk (beginning at 3:54):

In Genesis 2, it’s very clear that God followed a natural order. There’s a place where it says that there was no vegetation yet because it hadn’t rained yet. There’s a place in Genesis 2. I read a whole article from our old, Old Testament professor, Meredith Kline, years ago, I read an article on Genesis 2:4, “Because It Had Not Rained,” or maybe it’s 2:6. And Meredith Kline asked the question, he says, if Genesis 2 says that you had to have rain before you had vegetation, but if you go back to Genesis 1 you have vegetation before you have the sun and the moon, therefore, before you have weather. You have day 3 which means you have vegetation but day 4 you don’t have weather yet. If Genesis 2 says that God did things in a natural order, that He didn’t do vegetation until there was rain, but in Genesis 1 we have vegetation before there was rain, then you actually have this choice before you. You can either believe that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other and that we can’t trust the Bible. Alright? That somebody wrote Genesis 2, and somebody wrote Genesis 1, and some idiotic editor just slapped them together. And they totally contradict each other and that’s the way the Bible is. It’s just this compendium, right? Or you can believe that Genesis 2 is historical reporting and Genesis 1 is a poem. That’s your only two. This is one of the reasons that I do not believe that Genesis 1 can be taken literally. Because if you take it literally then you have a Bible that contradicts itself. Because the order in which God makes things in Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 1. Now critical scholars have have all along have always said sure that’s because the Bible is just plopped together by different people, it’s a bunch of different legends, sort of like a compendium of myths. But if you believe that the Bible is true then you have to believe that they’re two different literary genres. You have to. And that’s one of the reasons I do not take every part of Genesis 1 literally is because if I do it undermines the authority of the Bible. … (6:35) Genesis 2 is historical reporting and it contradicts Genesis 1 unless Genesis 1 is a song.

Did Ken Ham misrepresent Dr. Keller’s teaching on Genesis 1 and 2? I’m not so sure.

Death Before the Fall

When one moves away from a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11, there are a number of theological questions that have to be answered. How long is a “day” of creation? Were Adam and Eve actual, historical persons? Were they the very first man and woman? Did God create them de novo, or did He adopt a couple of hominids whose bodies were the result of evolution?

These last three questions have been the subject of much debate in recent days. But there is another question that should be addressed: Was there death before the Fall? To be honest, this is not a question that had occurred to me until recently. For most young-earth creationists, the easy answer is “no.” However, for many Christians who believe in an old earth and long ages, it’s a valid question.

If there were long ages of time, millions and millions of years (at least), there must have been death of some kind. If animals and humans are the result of evolution and natural selection (even God directed), then death is a necessary part of that. How do you reconcile what Scripture teaches about the origin of death with the necessity of death as part of the process of creation? Here are a selection of quotes from several scholars on how they answer the question of death before the Fall:

God’s estimation that it is “good” does not mean that it is consummately perfect; both surd and moral evil are already in existence. One can infer that prior to the Fall, decay existed in the flora because humans and animals were to eat it (Gen. 1:29-30), and wild animals (carnivores) that kill prey were also present among the species of fauna (1:30; 2:19). the biblical text represents the human, not the animal, realm as punished with death through Adam’s fall (Gen. 3:19; Rom. 5;12-19). The analogy between Adam and Christ also pertains to the human, not the animal, realm: as Adam brought death to all humanity, Christ brings life to all believers, not to animals. Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament Theology, 184

If we think that animal death would be a blot on the goodness of creation, we’re out of step with Psalm 104. But we have no reason to believe that the Bible teaches that no animal died before the fall. Remember, as we saw in the last chapter that Genesis 2:17 (“for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”) was spoken directly to Adam: its “you” is singular. Then when Eve shows that she considers herself under the same threat (3:3), the “you” is plural – but it refers still to the human couple, not to anyone else. When we further remember just what this “death” is – spiritual death, alienation from God – we see as well that this penalty is for man (though it may have effects on the beasts, as we’ll see later.) Jack Collins, Science and Faith, 156

[W]e have no biblical warrant for arguing that animal death was the result of man’s fall, or that no animal ate another before then. This means that there is no theological objection to the possibility that fossils are the remains of animals that died before Adam was even created.

Along these lines, we can say that animal death is not part of the problem of evil. Not even when some kind of animal goes extinct is it really an evil – so long as it came from nature doing its own thing and not from humans’ sinful exploitation of the world. That means that when people try to argue for a young earth by saying that an old earth involves evil (especially animals dying), or when others argue against believing in God at all in view of “nature red in tooth and claw,” they are making a theological mistake. Jack Collins, Science and Faith, 162

But there is another question that looms over the others. In this model, how could there have
been suffering and death before the fall? Some answer may be in the second verse of the Bible, where we are told that ‘the earth was without form’ and was filled with darkness and chaos. Most traditional interpreters believe that God initially made the world in this ‘formless’ state and then proceeded to subdue the disorder through the creative process of separation, elaboration, and development depicted in Genesis 1.

However, even this traditional interpretation means that there was not perfect order and peace in creation from the first moment. Also, Satan seems to have been present in the world before the Fall. What makes us think that Satan and demons were not in the world before the moment the serpent appears? One of the biggest unanswered (and unanswerable) theological
questions is—what was Satan doing there? By definition, if Satan was somewhere in the world, it was not all a perfect place.

Traditional theology has never believed that humanity and the world in Genesis 2-3 was in a
glorified, perfect state. Augustine taught that Adam and Eve were posse non peccare (able not to sin) but they fell into the state of non posse non peccare (not able not to sin). In our final state of full salvation, however, we will be non posse peccare (not capable of sinning.) Eden was not the
consummated world of the future. Some have pointed out that in the Garden of Eden that there would have had to be some kind of death and decay or fruit would not have been edible. Tim Keller, “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople,” 11-12

In the standard picture of biological evolution embraced by BioLogos there exists insurmountable evidence of death before the Fall. Humans appear very late in the history of life, so the fossil record clearly shows that many creatures died before humans appeared. In fact, compelling evidence exists that many entire species had already become extinct. Dinosaurs are the most famous example, but there are thousands of others. However, the curse of Genesis 3 was that Adam and Eve, and not animals, should die. Therefore, the animal death that BioLogos acknowledges is entirely compatible with Christian doctrine. It can even be argued that Adam must have been familiar with the reality of animal death, or he would not have understood God’s warning. Granting that animal death before the Fall is consistent with Christian doctrine, we consider the question of human death before the Fall.

One interpretation contends Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death as a result of their disobedience. The physical death of humans is thus not a result of the Fall and could therefore have occurred beforehand. …

In this way we might distinguish between Homo sapiens and the image-bearing creatures that we might call Homo divinus. While Homo sapiens might have a similar body structure or physical capabilities of Homo divinus, the latter exists in God’s image.

With this critically important distinction, BioLogos is thus compatible with the belief that part of Adam’s curse was the onset of physical death for the human race, because the human race in the full Imago Dei really began with Adam. Although many human-like creatures lived and died before the Fall, these Homo sapiens did not yet bear the image of God. After the bestowal of God’s image, there was no death of Homo divinus until after the Fall. As soon as image-bearing humanity fully emerged through God’s creative process of evolution, no member of that species experienced death until after the Fall. Peter Enns, BioLogos Foundation

Some might object that if the material phase had been carried out for long ages prior to the seven days of Genesis, there would be a problem about death. Romans 5:12 states unequivocally, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Interpreters have inferred from this verse that there was no death at any level prior to the Fall, the entrance of sin. But we should notice that the verse does not say that. Paul is talking about how death came to people – why all of humanity is subject to death. Just because death came to us because of sin, does not mean that death did not exist at any level prior to the Fall. John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, 99

Modern science has amply demonstrated that phenomena such as predation, death, and the extinction of the species have been intrinsic and even necessary aspects of life on earth for billions of years, long before the arrival of Homo sapiens. …

Recent research in molecular biology, primatology, sociobiology, and phylogenetics indicates that the species Homo sapiens cannot be traced back to a single pair of individuals, and that the earliest human beings did not come on the scene in anything like paradisal physical or moral conditions. It is therefore difficult to read Genesis 1-3 as a factual account of human origins. …

We must trust that God created the kind of world that he did because an evolutionary process involving selfishness, suffering, and death was the only way to bring about such creaturely values as novelty, complexity, and freedom. Daniel Harlow, “After Adam: Reading Genesis in an Age of Evolutionary Science,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, volume 62, number 3 (Sept. 2010), 179-193

For it seems, on this science, that not just natural evils, such as animal suffering and violent episodes in nature, but also the disposition for human moral evils, are practically part of God’s original design. …

One part of this conflict between evolutionary science and the Christian doctrine of a historical Fall is old hat by now, and the new genomic science merely intensifies the problem at a microgenetic level. It is that Genesis and premodern Christian tradition attribute quite a list of unpleasant and peculiar things in nature to the occurrence of a historical Fall of human beings. The trouble is that paleoscience overwhelmingly proves that labor pains, the locomotion of snakes, predation, deadly diseases, mass extinction, thorn plants and weeds, and violent natural events existed for millennia before the existence of the first humans. Thus, they cannot be the consequence of a “curse” that God placed on the creation as punishment for human sin. John Schneider, “Recent Genetic Science and Christian Theology on Human Origins: An ‘Aesthetic Supralapsarianism'”

Enns: ” the Westminster Confession of Faith leaves no room for anything other than a first couple read literally from the pages of Genesis and Paul”

In a fascinating article this week, Dr. Peter Enns, formerly of BioLogos, reviewed Jack Collins’ book, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?. While Dr. Enns appreciates Dr. Collins attempt to explain Adam and Eve in light of evolution, he does not believe that Dr. Collins was successful in advancing the discussion between conservative Christians and evolutionary scientists. In particular, Dr. Enns does not think that the view that suggests that Adam and Eve were specially chosen hominids is a plausible one. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Enns’ article:

John Collins has taken on the important task of explaining who Adam and Eve were in view of evolutionary theory—which he accepts, at least in its broad outlines. More importantly, Collins wishes to instill in his readers a firm confidence in Adam and Eve as the historical “headwaters” of the human race, and so retain the biblical metanarrative of creation, fall, and redemption. In other words, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? is an apologetic for the traditional view of Adam and Eve as the first human pair in light of evolutionary theory. I commend Collins for attempting to bring under one roof the truth of evolution as the proper paradigm for explaining human origins and the biblical story of Adam and Eve. The topic is timely, thorny, and absolutely unavoidable.

I see two audiences for this book. The main audience is those who share Collins’s doctrinal commitments but may be skeptical of, or hostile to, the Adam/ evolution debate. Collins is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church of America (in which he is ordained). The document that governs their theological deliberations is the seventeenth-century Westminster Confession of Faith, which clearly stipulates a first couple. I commend Collins for the courage to engage this group in a conversation about evolution.

The other audience is a broader Christian one, already invested in and knowledgeable about this discussion, but not necessarily committed to Collins’s theological predispositions, and not pressured to conform to them.

Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? may help the former audience by nudging them toward some openness to accepting scientific realities and addressing the theological ramifications. Those familiar with these sorts of delicate negotiations will quickly perceive where Collins goes out of his way to remind readers of his firm theological commitments.

In the long run, however, I am not convinced that all—or even most—of these readers will feel comfortable following Collins. Collins’s synthesis requires an ad hoc hybrid “Adam” who was “first man” in the sense of being either a specially chosen hominid or a larger tribe of early hominids (Collins is careful not to commit himself to either option). Although I am sympathetic to Collins’s efforts to blaze such a path (and he is not alone), I do not see how such an ad hoc Adam will calm doctrinal waters, since the Westminster Confession of Faith leaves no room for anything other than a first couple read literally from the pages of Genesis and Paul, and therefore entails a clear rejection of evolutionary theory.

Further, this type of hybrid “Adam,” clearly driven by the need to account for an evolutionary model, is not the Adam of the biblical authors. Ironically, the desire to protect the Adam of scripture leads Collins (and others) to create an Adam that hardly preserves the biblical portrait. Evolution and a historical Adam cannot be merged by positing an Adam so foreign to the biblical consciousness.

You can read the whole article here.

10 Reasons to Believe in an Historical Adam

Kevin DeYoung has a great post today on why one should believe in an historical Adam. He gives ten reasons to support his argument for Adam as the literal first man. Here is an excerpt from his article:

1. The Bible does not put an artificial wedge between history and theology. Of course, Genesis is not a history textbook or a science textbook, but that is far from saying we ought to separate the theological wheat from the historical chaff. Such a division owes to the Enlightenment more than the Bible.

2. The biblical story of creation is meant to supplant other ancient creation stories more than imitate them. Moses wants to show God’s people “this is how things really happened.” The Pentateuch is full of warnings against compromise with the pagan culture. It would be surprising, then, for Genesis to start with one more mythical account of creation like the rest of the ANE.

3. The opening chapters of Genesis are stylized, but they show no signs of being poetry. Compare Genesis 1 with Psalm 104, for example, and you’ll see how different these texts are. It’s simply not accurate to call Genesis poetry. And even if it were, who says poetry has to be less historically accurate?

4. There is a seamless strand of history from Adam in Genesis 2 to Abraham in Genesis 12. You can’t set Genesis 1-11 aside as prehistory, not in the sense of being less than historically true as we normally understand those terms. Moses deliberately connects Abram with all the history that comes before him, all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden.

5. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 treat Adam as historical.

6. Paul believed in a historical Adam (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-49). Even some revisionists are honest enough to admit this; they simply maintain that Paul (and Luke) were wrong.

7. The weight of the history of interpretation points to the historicity of Adam. The literature of second temple Judaism affirmed an historical Adam. The history of the church’s interpretation also assumes it.

8. Without a common descent we lose any firm basis for believing that all people regardless of race or ethnicity have the same nature, the same inherent dignity, the same image of God, the same sin problem, and that despite our divisions we are all part of the same family coming from the same parents.

9. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of original sin and guilt does not hold together.

10. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of the second Adam does not hold together.

You can read the full article here.

Genesis and the Ancient Near Eastern Texts

One of the common issues encountered in the study of Genesis 1-11 is the relationship of the Biblical account to Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, the Sumerian King List, and Enuma Elish. The apparent similarities are found in the creation and flood stories. Some commentators believe that the writer (or writers) of Genesis borrowed from these stories when composing or compiling Genesis 1-11. Others believe that all of these texts, including the Bible, were drawing on much older stories. I thought it would be interesting to look at a couple of these ANE texts to see how they compare to the Bible.

The Epic of Atrahasis is a Mesopotamian story of creation and a great flood. Here is a summary I found:

The story of the Flood is the final part of this epic, which starts with complaints by the Lesser Gods, who refuse to work any longer. Humankind is created, but men make so much noise, that the gods decide to wipe them out. The plan to send a Deluge, however, is betrayed by the god Enki, who sends a dream to Atrahasis.

Here are a couple of  short excerpts from the Epic of Atrahasis. The first excerpt is about creation: Continue reading

Al Mohler and BioLogos

Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a series of articles about BioLogos and the creation/evolution debate. Here are some excerpts from his articles:

No Pass from Theological Responsibility—The BioLogos Conundrum

They will have to take responsibility for these arguments. They should expect no less than a spirited debate over their proposals, and it is nothing short of bewildering that they now ask, in effect, for a pass from all theological scrutiny. They accuse conservative evangelicals of driving evangelicalism into an “intellectual cul-de-sac” and into the status of an intellectual “cult,” and then they have the audacity to complain of the “tone” of those who argue that their proposals amount to a theological disaster.

Virtually every form of theological liberalism arises from an attempt to rescue Christian theology from what is perceived to be an intellectual embarrassment — whether the virgin conception of Christ, the historicity of the miracles recorded in the Bible, or, in our immediate context, the inerrancy of Scripture and the Bible’s account of creation.

No Buzzing Little Fly—Why the Creation-Evolution Debate is So Important

As I have stated repeatedly, I accept without hesitation the fact that the world indeed looks old. Armed with naturalistic assumptions, I would almost assuredly come to the same conclusions as BioLogos and the evolutionary establishment, or I would at least find evolutionary arguments credible. But the most basic issue is, and has always been, that of worldview and basic presuppositions. The entire intellectual enterprise of evolution is based on naturalistic assumptions, and I do not share those presuppositions. Indeed, the entire enterprise of Christianity is based on supernaturalistic, rather than merely naturalistic, assumptions. There is absolutely no reason that a Christian theologian should accept the uniformitarian assumptions of evolution. In fact, given a plain reading of Scripture, there is every reason that Christians should reject a uniformitarian presupposition. The Bible itself offers a very different understanding of natural phenomena, with explanations that should be compelling to believers. In sum, there is every reason for Christians to view the appearance of the cosmos as graphic evidence of the ravages of sin and the catastrophic nature of God’s judgment upon sin.

Dr. Falk ends his essay with a paragraph that includes this key sentence: “If God really has created through an evolutionary mechanism and if God chooses to use BioLogos and other groups to help the Church come to grips with this issue, then these three huge challenges will begin to melt away as God’s Spirit enables us to look to him and not to ourselves.” I will simply let that sentence speak for itself.

I do not believe that BioLogos is “a buzzing little fly.” To the contrary, I believe that it represents a very significant challenge to the integrity of Christian theology and the church’s understanding of everything from the authority and truthfulness of the Bible to the meaning of the Gospel. A buzzing little fly is only a nuisance. The theory of evolution is no mere nuisance — it represents one of the greatest challenges to Christian faith and faithfulness in our times.

Continue reading

It Is Not My Faith in Christ That Saves Me

The following is an essay by Charles Spurgeon from his Morning and Evening:

“Looking unto Jesus.” –Hebrews 12:2

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.

He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. Continue reading

Keller: “Noah’s flood … was a regional flood”

One of the hot debates over how to interpret Genesis is what to make of Noah’s flood. Is it myth or history? Was is worldwide or local? Here is Tim Keller’s answer:

In order to be true to my own principle, I won’t bother you with information about the different views of the flood. Let me just lay out my own assumptions. I believe Noah’s flood happened, but that it was a regional flood, not a world-wide flood. On the one hand, those who insist on it being a world-wide flood seem to ignore too much the scientific evidence that there was no such thing. On the other hand, those who insist that it was a legend seem to ignore too much the trustworthiness of the Scripture. After Genesis 1, the rest of Genesis reads like historical narrative. If, it is asked, ‘what of the Biblical assertions that the flood covered every mountain over the whole earth (Gen.7:19,21), we should remember that the Bible often speaks of the ‘known world’ as the ‘whole world’ — compare Gen. 41:56,57; Acts 2:5,9-11; Col.1:23. (Tim Keller, Genesis: What Were We Put in the World to Do? [New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2006],81)

It is interesting to compare his answer to what Peter Enns wrote over at BioLogos:

However, a balanced interpretation of Scripture does not force the reader to believe that the Flood was a worldwide phenomenon. The scientific and historical evidence summarized below supports the idea that the flood was indeed catastrophic, but that it was local, recent and limited in scope.

An Historical Adam: Why It Matters

In reading the various articles on creation and evolution, it can be easy to say: What does it really matter?

One of the topics that must be considered in the creation vs. evolution debate is how to handle Adam. Was Adam a real, historical man created by God as Genesis 2 describes and the father of all mankind? Was he a homo sapien, a result of macroevolution, that God adopted to be the first homo divinus? Was he simply a metaphorical figure who represents the origins of man and sin?

Dr. Mike Reeves has written an essay for a book, Should Christians Embrace Evolution?, that examines various theological objections to macroevolution. The following article is from Chapter 3 of the book which addresses why Adam matters:

Adam and Eve

Evangelical Christians have generally resisted the demythologization of the events of the Gospels, whereby, for example, the resurrection of Jesus is interpreted as a mythical portrayal of the principle of new life. Indeed, they have argued strongly that it is the very historicity of the resurrection event that is so vital. However, when it comes to the biblical figures of Adam and Eve, there has been a far greater willingness to interpret them as mythical or symbolic. The simple aim of this chapter is to show, in sketch, that, far from being a peripheral matter for fussy literalists, it is biblically and theologically necessary for Christians to believe in Adam as first, a historical person who second, fathered the entire human race. Continue reading

Gleaning: Blessing others as God has blessed you

When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this. Deuteronomy 24:19-22

What is gleaning? Gleaning, as described in the Old Testament, is the practice of leaving some of the grain or produce behind during harvest for the needy members of society. It’s different from charity or alms in that the excess is not just given away. Those who needed food would come to the fields after the harvest and gather for themselves. To an urbanized, post-Industrial society, this may seem very foreign. And yet, I wonder if there is anything we can learn from it.

The practice of gleaning provided work and food for those who lacked both. In the Deuteronomy passage, God gives two reasons for His people to do this. First, they are told that they should do this so that God may bless them in all they do. God’s people are to remember that all they have comes from the Lord. Because He has blessed them, they are to be a blessing to others, and God promises that He will continue to bless them. This is not a “health and wealth” doctrine. God’s blessings are not simply material, but all His blessings flow down like rain on His people. This is still true today.

My dad, who deserves credit for the basic idea of this article, has used a very helpful illustration of this concept. Imagine that someone is pouring out sand into your hands. If you close your hands to try to hold on to the sand, you can only hold a little bit. But if you open your hands and allow the excess to run over the sides, your hands hold more. I think that really shows the point here. God has given His people so much that they shouldn’t try to hold on to it all with a tight grasp, but rather allow His blessings to flow over and bless others. Continue reading